- WWF has a vision of ensuring that healthy natural environment supports people and sustainable development in Kenya
- The specialised training seeks to enhance sustainable natural resource governance and promote nature-based solutions and enterprises
When Solomon Mwanzo enrolled for beekeeping studies at Baraka Agriculture College in Nakuru county, he did not know that the skills he would acquire will one day pay off.
Mwanzo is among 20 women and youth from Loitokitok in Amboseli, who were sponsored by World Wide Fund for Nature-Kenya to study bee keeping in 2022.
The sponsorship was under WWF-Kenya’s Forest Landscape Restoration project in Loitoktok.
The beneficiaries enrolled for certificate and diploma in nature-based courses such as beekeeping, community wildlife conservation, forestry, agroforestry, sustainable agriculture and animal production.
Two years after enrollment, Mwanzo and four others graduated.
He later started a nature-based enterprise in Kitale that trains and empowers farmers on best practices of beekeeping.
Mwanzo’s thriving business draws customers from as far as Busia and Turkana.
His enterprise is already contributing to Kenya’s economy through job creation.
“I have employed 10 men in Kitale through this enterprise. It is incredible how far-reaching it has become, extending services to regions like Busia and Turkana," Mwanzo said.
"My dedication to creating jobs echoes the values of the WWF-Kenya initiative—empowering others through opportunities I was fortunate to receive."
WWF has a vision of ensuring that healthy natural environment supports people and sustainable development in Kenya.
The specialised training seeks to enhance sustainable natural resource governance and promote nature-based solutions and enterprises.
The initiative not only mainstreams the inclusion of youth and women in conservation but also ensures local communities get economic benefits from restoration efforts.
It also seeks to increase the number of people benefitting from the WWF-Kenya’s FLR project in Loitokitok.
Sophie Renson is also one of the five graduates.
“Growing up in a financially strained household, I did not foresee many opportunities. But this project changed everything. The support they provided allowed me to enroll in the Apiculture Level 5 programme," she says.
"Without their guidance and financial aid, my life might have followed a completely different route. I might have been married with a family by now.”
Renson plans to venture into beekeeping, starting with 20 beehives.
“I hope to make a living for myself and create job opportunities in my community using sustainable practices learnt,” she says.
Another beneficiary of the sponsorship is Timothy Tajeu, who secured a job as an apiculture officer in Kajiado county.
He is currently based in Lake Magadi.
“The shift came with securing a job through the support of the FLR project. This position allows me to contribute to environmental sustainability in Lake Magadi, leveraging nature-based solutions in my work," he says.
"My success reflects what others like me, supported by this project, can accomplish.”
The FLR project's goal is to directly restore 5,000 hectares (12,355 acres) and have indirect impact on another 20,000 hectares (49,421 acres) in Loitokitok.
WWF-Kenya Programme coordinator for Amboseli-Chyulu sub-landscape John Kioko said it their hope that the youth and women, who have benefited from the nature-based courses will play a key role in sustainable restoration and conservation efforts.
“They should apply the skills and knowledge that they have learned to bring back the productivity, biodiversity and create nature-based jobs to support alternative and economically viable livelihoods,” he says.
“At WWF-Kenya, we promote nature-based solutions because these are efforts that help to protect, restore and sustainably manage land ecosystems while simultaneously addressing societal challenges such as climate change and deriving ecosystem based benefits for local communities.”
Studies have shown that human beings started using honey 8,000 years ago.
A journal in National Library of Medicine shows that honey has an inhibitory effect on around 60 species of bacteria, some species of fungi and viruses.
Antioxidant capacity of honey is important in many disease conditions and is due to a wide range of compounds including phenolics, peptides, organic acids, enzymes and Maillard reaction products.
Honey has also been used in some gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, inflammatory and neoplastic states.
Beehives have also been found to play crucial role in addressing human wildlife conflicts.
The hives in some conservation areas such as Tsavo have been installed along farm the boundaries to keep elephants at bay.
The move has cushioned farmers from losses and destruction of property such as water tanks.